Are we too hard on the Rangers, or not hard enough
If this gets posted I’ll be surprised, but with all the heated debate the Lindros and the Snow articles started I thought something a little more blunt and straight to the point would stir up a better arguement. Is Sather and the Rangers the Punchline to the NHL’s worst joke, or are the fans of every other team in the league simply jealous of the spend money like its water mentality that Sather has? Read and respond.
“By Adam Proteau
The Hockey News
In January, we examined the plight of the 2002-03 New York Rangers.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Rangers are beyond bad. Imagine a triple-bill concert featuring
Roxette, Yoko Ono and The Captain & Tennille. Imagine a Tom Green
retrospective at the local cinema. Imagine being Whitney Houston’s
publicist. Imagine Dr. Phil coming to live with you for a few years.
The Rangers make all those things seem like discovering Bill Gates
libeled you in print.
In retrospect, one thing is clear: We were being too generous.
First, a quick recap: Since the season began, Rangers GM Glen Sather
has spent money like an estranged wife with incriminating photos of
her husband. He has betrayed with breathtaking abandon his Edmonton-
era mantra of fiscal responsibility, and done so wearing the smirk
that was justified when Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were crushing
the competition, but now seems ridiculously misplaced.
And, whether or not the franchise makes a highly improbable, last-
breath run into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, he
is the architect of the NHL’s biggest atrocity since Alexandre
Daigle’s rookie contract.
In that January article, we argued Sather’s then-$70-million
experiment had blown up real good, and deserved dismantling in favor
of a youth-fueled, Vancouver Canucks-like rebuild. Instead, Sather
went out and acquired Boris Mironov, Alexei Kovalev, two-thirds of
mainland China — like you’d be shocked –and Anson Carter. In total,
he signed off on cosmetic surgery pricetag: $10-million for a
franchise in desperate need of a heart transplant.
Now, Rangers apologists will point to Sather’s move behind the bench,
and the team’s subsequent 10-6-3-2 record under him, as proof
positive the course has been righted.
Sure it has. And Eric Lindros is the same player he was two years ago.
Slice it any way you like, folks, but there’s nothing like the bottom
line to illustrate things, and here it is: A payroll nuzzling close
to $80-million — equal to the combined salaries of the Ottawa
Senators, Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators — will be lucky
to break the .500 mark this season.
A team built to be the Harlem Globetrotters has come up playing like
the Washington Generals. That’s all you need to know.
Undoubtedly though, when the Rangers are making plans for the draft
lottery, there will be debate over whether or not Sather should get
another shot. Try convincing poor Dean Lombardi, the former Sharks GM
who still needs smelling salts to recover from a whack job reportedly
ordered because he failed to cut enough payroll from another bunch of
Let’s go over that again: Sather adds payroll, and goes from GM to
coach-GM. Lombardi cuts payroll, and goes from employed to the bread
lines. Is this Bizarro World? If Sather signs Sergei Fedorov and
trades for Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Roy this offseason, will he be
bumped up to chairman of Madison Square Garden? If he were forced to
grow an evil goatee, a la Captain Kirk, would we better understand
If you’re still unconvinced of the menace Sather’s absurd spending
spree poses to the financial viability of the league, have a gander
at his comments regarding the Kovalev deal, a trade almost
universally considered to be a world-class salary dump to keep the
red-ink-laden Penguins solvent:
“I don’t think it’s a salary dump at all,” Sather said at the time,
his nose strangely the same size at the end of the sentence as it was
at the beginning. “It was difficult parting with the guys we did.”
The guys Sather parted with? Ahem: Try Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard,
Richard Lintner and Mikael Samuelsson. For Alexei Kovalev.
By “difficult’” Sather must’ve meant “difficult to keep from doubling
over with laughter as the paperwork was finalized.”
But that’s how it is with Glen Sather. He knows the right words to
say, and doesn’t care if he truly means it. When he presided over the
Oilers, you couldn’t get a word in edgewise over his “woe-is-me-us-
cash-cow-clubs-keep-driving-up-player-salaries” tap-dance. But when
the going gets tough — and with no playoff appearances from the
Rangers in the last five seasons, tough it has gotten — his empty
words are stomped into the mud by another fat check. (Speaking of
which, that could be the Penguins’ motto for next season: “No fat
checks.” You’re welcome, Mario.)
In a sense, it’d be nice to see the Rangers kept together next
season, if only to showcase them around the league as a cautionary
tale. For these Rangers, more than any other team in the NHL’s
history, prove a valuable lesson: Hockey is not a sport that
individuals win. Hockey doesn’t yield LeBron James-type saviors. The
George Steinbrenner philosophy of blindly slapping talent on top of
talent does not hold water around these parts. No, hockey is about
sacrifice, determination and teamwork. Guess what three things the
To sum things up, we turn to the wisdom of Pavel Bure, another
Blueshirt who’ll be red-faced when he’s on the links in a few weeks:
“We would have liked two points,” Bure told the Toronto Sun’s Mike
Ulmer after a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa March 13. “But one is
better than nothing.”
That’s all you need to know about Glen Sather and the New York
Rangers: They’re looking out for No. 1, and No. 1 only.
Ironic, then, that they’ve turned out to be a bunch of nothings.”